National Federation of Women’s Institutes

National Federation of Women’s Institutes

Harare (Salisbury)

The Women’s Institute (WI), a community-based organisation for women, was founded in Ontario, Canada, by Adelaide Hoodless in 1897. It was based on the British concept of Women’s Guilds, created by Rev Archibald Charteris in 1887 and originally confined to the Church of Scotland. It later spread to other countries. Many WIs belong to the Associated Country Women of the World organisation.

The WI was established in Rhodesia in 1925 and was a European-based women’s organisation. During WWII, it contributed to the war effort by raising resources for the soldiers (such as clothing); domestic responsibilities such as cooking and washing for the uniformed forces; as well as establishing child care facilities to help release more women. The Federation of Women’s Institutes of Southern Rhodesia (F.W.I.S.R.) was one of two major women’s organisations that stood out because of the nature and extent of their contributions.

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